Bakusyu Club Popeye

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Bakusyu Club PopeyeBakusyu Club Popeye
34 Ratings
Bakusyu Club PopeyeBakusyu Club Popeye

Type: Bar, Eatery

2-18-7 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku
Tokyo-to Tokyo-shi, 130-0026

03 3633 2120 | map

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Ratings: 34 |  Reviews: 27
Reviews by CBA:
Photo of CBA
4.68/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Worth every yen spent. I'd go every night if I could afford it. Perfect size, outstanding & knowledgeable service, good atmosphere, and local craft beer out the wazoo. If there's one place you go to in Japan for beer, make it Popeye's. Got to try some of the Oktoberfest brews, and a fantastic hand pump Swan Lake IPA. Although they've got quite a few US & Belgian beer on tap, it's the locals you obviously want to focus on. The best part is the list of Barleywines & Old Ales on tap - the 2004 Hakusekikan barleywine was outstanding as was the Nine Tail Fox. The izakaya style small plates served with your beer (between 5 & 8pm) is also greatly appreciated. Kudos all around.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of visionthing
4.35/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Photo of Stevedore
4.48/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

What a cool place. You can tell this has been around a while. Busy, lots of drafts, mostly Japanese, American and European imports. They have their own proprietary beers as well. Fun stuff, fun place, fun staff- they don't really speak English but are otherwise helpful. If you are around for an extended time, it may be worth joining their card-carrying club.

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Photo of Auduni
4.87/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

It's a tad harsh of me to be rating the food here as I had one small course that was pretty forgettable, but nothing else was forgettable about this place. The beers I had exceeded my expectations beforehand by miles, and the service (albeit that you actively need to get the attention as obviously is the flavour of the month in Tokyo) was impeccable. They don't shy away although their English skills are pretty limited. Sign language solves it all! I don't know the selection in the rest of Tokyo as this was my very first day in this awkward, but wicked, city, but reading up before going there, I understood that it is one of a kind. And when they suddenly, happily surprised by the fact that I'm a Norwegian, show up with a big glass of maybe the smoothest, silkiest, most delicious Barley Wine (not on the menu) I've ever tasted (7 years cask storage), just because they think I'd like some, how can I be disappointed? If you come here and you ARE disappointed, I'd suggest you review your way of life. It's unsnobby, honest, exciting, unique and just brilliant! So happy I still have 5 days here in Tokyo.

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Photo of amano_h
4.55/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I don't understand reviews of this place claiming that Beer Club Popeye isn't focused on Japanese beers when around 55-60 of their 70 taps are dedicated to Japanese beers.

That having been said, yes, you read that right. Popeye has 70 beers on tap, with four of them being cask engines. In case that thought hasn't quite sunk in yet, let me put it this way. The only place that I know of that has more beers on tap than Popeye is the legendary Falling Rock Taphouse in Denver, CO which has 75 beers on tap rotating on a regular basis, has hosted Cantillon's Zwanze Day on multiple occasions, and was one of the first bars outside of Northern California to ever receive Russian River Brewing Company's well sought-after Pliny the Elder on tap.

Whereas Popeye isn't quite as legendary as Falling Rock just yet, they have all the makings of a world-class pub (they've also won RateBeer's coveted best pub in the world award twice, but that's beside the point) -- their 70 beers on tap are well thought-out covering a wide range of varieties including Pale Ales, IPAs, Fruit Beer, Weizens & White Beer, Strong Ales, Stouts, and a small section they've labelled "imports." Popeye also brews their own beer through their proprietary brewing company "Strange Brewing" whose offerings are immensely popular among the locals and the regulars.

For those that are overwhelmed by the choices available or simply can't be bothered to screen through all 70 of their currently available beers, Popeye also has the "Templer Set," a sampler set of 10 carefully curated beers based on style (70ml each) for only ¥1700. You can also upgrade to a bigger version of the Templer Set for ¥2900, but I don't recommend this unless you really like what they have designated that day as the Templer.

The appetizers are great but a little lacking in terms of portions to be honest -- certainly not enough to soak up all the beers one usually ends up drinking here :)

Come for the beer, stay for the beer.

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Photo of tjumfrid
4.4/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Great selection of Japanese beers, plus some american crafts as well.

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Photo of SCW
4.54/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of snaotheus
4.65/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 2.75

Not sure if I should rate this "for Japan" or "world wide". I think I'll go with "for Japan."

This is a beer place for beer people. It's awesome in that regard. I have the impression that no one accidentally wanders in -- people who love beer seek it out, and those are the only people there. In terms of Japan -- it's Japanese. Small, crowded, hot. Loudest place I've been in Japan, I think, but I don't typically go out to bars here. [In terms of beer camaraderie, this is truly a world class place]

The beer selection is unbeatable in Japan. No one can compare. I came here looking for jibiru (Japanese craft), and I found it. [Comparing with my experiences everywhere, they have a good selection -- lots of locals that can't be found elsewhere]

Service is good for Japan. You do have to be aware of Japanese service at bars -- typically you ask the server to come to you (or shout out your order to the server). In Japan, there are no penalties for doing this, because it's expected. I was amazed that they moved me more than once and were still able to get my tab perfectly correct. [Worldwide -- probably the hardest working, most dedicated staff I've seen, but I'm not a fan of this Japanese style of service. Demanding attention is not my cup of tea]

Food is not so good, expensive, and small portions. I'd recommend going on a full stomach.

I had a great time at this place.

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Photo of eawolff99
4.61/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of 31Sam13
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of kofukasho
5/5  rDev +9.9%

Tokyo's finest beer bar. It's not cheap by any means, but compared to similar bars in the capital it comes out on top because of its selection, atmosphere and service.

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Photo of sharkboy
5/5  rDev +9.9%

Photo of Amanda5073
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of cehollo
4.03/5  rDev -11.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.25

Went to Popeye in July 2013 seeking out some unique Japanese beers and they delivered. Had some great beer from Coedo and some tasty bar food. The atmosphere was pretty mellow for a busy place and the staff was very helpful.The selection won't blow you away but if you want to drink good beer in Tokyo go to Popeye!

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Photo of shigg85
4.83/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Absolutely the best bar i've ever been to! Friendly, boisterous staff with a bar crew that KNOWS their beers! The Hop Heart injection system is really an amazing feature that you should definitely inquire into! Food is great with decent portions (especially the Happy Hour combos with drinks). Prices are pretty low for Tokyo standards. The best selection of barleywines i've ever encountered. Lots of mix between Japanese, American, and some others thrown in. Love, love, LOVE POPEYE!

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Photo of John_Henry
3.74/5  rDev -17.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75 | food: 2

If you want to try a good selection of beer whilst in Japan and can only visit one place, make it 'Popeye'.

You gotta love popeye. For starters there simply aren't the number of places serving decent beer there should be in Japan. For the most part you'll get Asahi, saporo, or Kirin. If you search out a brew pub or decent place serving a selection of beers you probably won't be disappointed, but if you can only do one, make it here.

Having visited Japan Numerous times, and now having lived here for a year, I haven't found anywhere to better 'Popeye'. They offer an exceptional selection of good quality beer from all over the world.

I won't go into the individual beers, but the selection is very good. Don't expect much from the japanese beers, but this is a good place to try them. The food is OK, not so great, but thats not what your there for.

The atmosphere is good, though not the usual intimacy you would expect in Japan.

Service is ok by Japanese standards, but nothing to complain about.

Price is pretty fair for Japan, but that will probably make it expensive for you if your coming from abroad. Look out for offers and the happy hour. Happy hour offers free food. If you live in Japan, or are spending a while here get there points card, you get some good offers; free pitcher for me in March.

Coming from England the selection of proper Ale's is weak, but overall they have a very good selection. Don't expect a pub, it's more American inspired, but still Japanese enough to make it it's own unique place.

Overall I would personally highly recommend a visit, unless you want a real Japanese experience, if thats the case head elsewhere, but don't expect as good a selection of beer any where else in Japan.

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Photo of shivtim
4.6/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

When I visited Tokyo in 2007, I didn't have a chance to visit Club Popeye, so I made sure to stop by on this trip.

We had just a slight bit of trouble finding the place, because we took the subway, and the Ryogoku subway stop is not in exactly the same place as the JR Ryogoku stop. Luckily it was still pretty easy to find, and only about a ten minute walk. It's clearly marked from the outside; you can't miss it.

We went on a Friday evening, so it was crowded. Luckily a table opened up almost right away, and we were swiftly seated. It's actually a lot larger than I was expecting. Much larger than most Tokyo izakiya and bars (which are like closets). It's a nice space, with lots of wood and random beer things on the wall. We were in a little area to the right that's slightly separated from the main space. It was pretty cozy; there were two other people at our table. There is also a very small outdoor area, which was partially enclosed with a tarp and some heaters since it was chilly.

The whole place seemed to be non-smoking, which was a pleasant surprise for Japan.

The selection was very good. They variously claim to have either 40 or 70 on tap. I'm not sure of the actual number, but there was a wide selection ranging from IPAs to barleywines to stouts. Most were Japanese micro brews, but there were several European beers and a few from the US west coast. All that I tried were fresh and served up in proper glassware.

Service was great, as to be expected with Japan. You won't have one specific waiter/waitress, you can order from anyone, which keeps things moving really swiftly. I don't speak Japanese, but didn't have any problems. All of the staff spoke enough English for OK ordering.

Food was good. I had an assorted sausage plate, which included hop-infused sausage. We also had some yakitori with noodles and a tofu/tomato salad. The salad was particularly good.

It's said that the Japanese really open up once they're drinking, and I certainly found that to be true. The 50-something guy next to us started talking to us in limited English, and even gave me his business card and complemented on how he liked a particular American beer - "Michelob premium." He described my barleywine as "triple strong." Meanwhile the younger guys on the other side of us were enjoying some high gravity Japanese craft brews and having a boisterous conversation.

The prices are high, but that's because it's Tokyo, and because the US exchange rate sucks. Beers ranged from around $6 for a 9oz pour of some varieties to around $16 for some of the higher gravity options. Most fell around the $8 price point for the small size. Food is expensive but not exorbitant. You can easily drop $100 on two people if you have several pints each and eat a full meal. I mark this place as "very expensive" only when compared to the US. For what you get, it's actually a good deal for Japan.

Overall it's a fantastic place. I put it almost on par with the best loved beer bars in the US.

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Photo of ggourde
4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This place has done wonders for the beer community in Japan and it's loyalty to it's beer suppliers and customers is to be commended.

I have been going there for about 3 years now, and only once in all that time was the place empty and that was the first hour they were open on a Monday I happened to have off. The master greets everyone like you were an old friend. The staff run around like chickens with their heads chopped off, yet they never cease being gregarious and will stop in no time flat to help you with your need.

I wish it could be a bit bigger- but hey show me a decent bar that is a good size in Tokyo.

For those on vacation to Japan this is a one stop place to sink into Japan's blooming microbeer culture.

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Photo of OneBrewru
4.72/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Popeye's is easily the best beer bar I've been to in Japan, and certainly deserves a spot among the world's best beer bars. Why?

For starters, the atmosphere is great. Tucked away just a stone's throw from Ryougoku station, the nondescript exterior might lead a few searching for some good brew to pass it by. But inside lies a traditional American pub style brewpub. Sleek counters, wooden tables, appropriate glassware and beer decor- and to top it all off, a huge list of the day's available brews on tap. Yes, this is proper.

The quality is phenomenal re the beers. I'm originally from the Bay Area and frequent quite a few of the craft beer mainstays there and I still see brews at Popeye's from the US (and Europe) that I have never seen on tap. Not to mention the unrivaled Japanese craft beer selection.

The service is attentive and helpful. I haven't gotten into any huge conversations with the staff yet BUT they've always been really quick to pour me a brew. And you kill the keg, get 9/10 of a beer- its on the house. Maybe with a complimentary appetizer (which has happened to me twice).

Selection- I'll just list a few I've gotten here on draft:
Swan Lake Weizen
Swan Lake Belgian IPA
Swan Lake Golden Ale
Vamp Imperial Black Ale
Great Divide Oaked Yeti Imperial Stout
Nogne 100
Cantillon Geuze (bottle)
Mikkeller Nugget IPA
Augst Winter White Ale

The list goes on... usually 40 on draft and a bunch of bottles are available.

The food is typical pub fare, but with a few extra treats thrown in. Hop infused sausages and emu sashimi are fresh in my memory.

Value- expect to pay about $11/pint. That's actually good for Tokyo. And the food is a deal.

All in all, if you are a craft beer head and are in Japan, you should not miss this for anything. It will be worth your while.

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Photo of SargeC
4.78/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Not just one of the best beer spots in Japan, but one of the best in the world. The atmosphere is very welcoming, although getting a table can be challenging. It has been packed every time I have gone. The beer is served promptly and properly. The service is great. On one beer I ordered, the keg ran dry, the bartender gave me that last half a glass when he came and asked if I wanted something else.

I like the variety of delivery methods employed; they have regular tap, nitro tap, hand pump, cask and the "Hops Heart" that infuses the brew with extra hop goodness. They serve a good cross section of Japanese craft brewed beer. Impressive selection of out of the way bottled brews as well. The food is unique; I enjoyed the hop sausage and the chicken. Portions are small, but they do offer a half plate with every beer during happy hour.

Easily accessible from either the JR line or Toei line Ryogoku station. The map on their website is good. Plenty of good ramen shops around the station to stop in afterwards. Worth a pilgrimage any time you are in Tokyo.

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Photo of JeremyBrews
5/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Amazing selection of more than 50 on-tap, nitro and cask craft brews from all across Japan, and plenty of international craft brews in bottles to add to that. The shop owner, Aoki-san, is a passionate beer prophet whose life goal appears to be to increase Japanese awareness of craft brews in spite of the government's tenacious protection of the macro-beer industry. He regularly conducts research on people's enjoyment of different types of beer in an effort to objectify the art of brewing and pairing food to drink.

In addition to a huge variety of brews, the menu also offers a delicious selection of dishes that have been cooked in craft beers. The spicy buffalo wings are a must try. Various, creative desserts are made with beer as well - the result may surprise you.

The atmosphere is warm and inviting, as a giant tree juts out from the floor, decorated with beer bottles, and dark lighting allows you to nestle down into a divine state of beer-ecstasy. The master and his beer servants, most of whom have brewed themselves, are sincerely friendly, knowledgeable, and fun.

I would HIGHLY recommend that any tourist, beer fanatic or not, visit this bar as it presents a chance to see a unique cultural side of Japan. Namely, Japanese craft brewing, with the added benefit of a friendly staff and customers in a city that is otherwise famous for its battalions of stoic salaryman soldiers.

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Photo of jeranbrews
4.45/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

For Tokyo, a city of 30million, this is probably the best Beer-nerd friendly place you will find.

This is a little place by a station called Ryogoku in Tokyo. If you're a tourist visiting Akihabara or Asakusa this is worth the $1.5 for the train ride.

They have a menu of about 30-40 beers on tap that rotate monthly. About 80% of those are domestic.

If you are looking to try some Japanese micro-brew and or craft-brews this is a good place to visit.

The owner Aoki-san is a man well traveled in Beer on multiple continents. He gives his staff rigorous training in beer styles and what foods they compliment.

There is a happy hour value-set until 8pm each night. The menu is a little expensive by Tokyo standards and very expensive by N. American standards. But tasty. All original recipes made in their kitchen. The owner also includes a few interesting items cooked using various beers. Like beer ice cream and stout stew.

The staff is very friendly, but they are also very busy, don't expect to have them listen to your life story. They don't really speak English, so knowing more Japanese will help, but they don't turn away people. And they aren't afraid of new people or new ideas. Make sure you get a seat at the counter so you can talk beer.

I go hear once a month and if I were making more money I'd probably go every-other-day. You can always try at least one new beer there, and come away with a light wallet and heavy sense of beer nerd accomplishment.

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Photo of bobsy
4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Absolutely amazing bar, and the best place in Japan (and maybe even the world) that I have been to! Extremely friendly welcome from the entire barstaff, who yell out 'irrashimase' as soon as you enter. The service from then on is first class - always available as soon as you need anything, and extremely informative. In fact I'd go so far as to say this is the best service I have ever seen in a bar. The selection of beer available is impressively large, and I did count 70 taps on the menu, none of which were out when we asked for them. Four casks were available - three on handpump and one on gravity. The variation and diversity of styles was very refreshing to see considering the mundane blandness of Japan's macro scene. Every beer was also in very good quality, including the casks. Food was very good, although we only opted for the half plates that came with ordering certain marked beers during the happy hours period of 5pm to 8pm (a good strategy considering that the beer is on the pricey side).

Awesome place and very highly recommended. I'll be back!

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.36/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

this place was phenomenal overall and most welcome after a week in japan with no craft brews. located very close to a JR station and the national sumo stadium. stop by the zori (japanese sandal) shop a couple blocks away while you're in the area. walking in felt like walking into one of the best beer bars stateside-lots of cool beerphernalia adorns the place; things like an empty sixer of westvleteren (they didn't have any) and the full line of anchor winter ales in champagne-style bottles. beer related items are everywhere and constitute the entire decor of the place. i also saw signed photos of michael jackson and the founder of stone. also, smoking is allowed. service is very friendly and helpful, this being japan. one of our servers mentioned that he liked 3F's after we told him we were from chicago and also that he bought a gumballhead for $30 (yes, thirty dollars US) at an import shop. he was quite knowledgeable about beers and clearly had tried everything there. he was not only able to give good recommendations but also willing to advise which beers were mediocre. there is an updated beer menu but the chalkboard can be outdated and the tap handles misleading. approx 70 tap selection consists mostly of japanese ji-biru and craft beers from the US, belgium, germany, england, etc. of the many beers i tried (most are available in 9oz or 14 oz sizes), the best was a beer brewed by the owner-a dry-hopped ipa-one hopped only with summitt, the other saaz. great stuff. large bottle menu as well but i did not have a chance to get into that. food was good, i even got a couple of pieces of pizza free during happy hour. prices range from abour $6-10 US per beer, mostly dependent on size. it was great to see many japanese enjoying different craft brews. an absolute must-visit for any beer lover that is anywhere near tokyo.

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Photo of hoegaardenhero
4.8/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

i can`t stress how much of a must visit this is for beer lovers in tokyo. the bar has a very classic hometown pub feel with a few japanese touches and has 40 beers on tap, mostly japanese, with cask and nitro offerings. i got a 5 half pint sampler of 5 japanese cask beers that was great. i found the service to be knowledgeable about beer and friendly and they give you labels that show what beers you have drunk so you don`t get confused by all of the japanese names. prices are reasonable for tokyo. the only problem is that it can be a little difficult to find without a good map. overall excellent.

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Bakusyu Club Popeye in Tokyo-to Tokyo-shi, Japan
Place rating: 4.55 out of 5 with 34 ratings